#1Feb 23rd, 2009
- Alleged murderer of Chechen exile arrested in Poland
The victim, 27-year-old Umar Israilov, had initiated legal proceedings against Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov in Austria last summer. However, Vienna prosecutors have not confirmed that the lethal shooting by two men on January 13 was politically motivated.
An anti-terrorism unit arrested Turpal Ali J., a Russian of Chechen origin, in a hotel near Warsaw on February 19.
Polish police had learned last Thursday that the suspect was on the run from Austria and that he might be located near the Polish capital.
Of the eight Chechens who were arrested in Austria after the killing, four remain in custody. Austrian interior ministry spokesman Rudolf Gollia did not say Sunday whether the second main suspect was thought to be among the four.
Israilov, a former separatist fighter, claimed to have been tortured by Kadyrov and members of his security forces, and being forced to work in Kadyrov's security detail.
Israilov fled Chechnya in 2004 and was granted asylum in Austria, from where he attempted to file court cases in Vienna and the European Court of Human Rights.
Although the exile let Austrian authorities know that he felt threatened and followed in Vienna, Israilov did not receive police protection.
After the murder, and after the existence of death lists with names of Chechens living in Austria became public, police have increased security for some of the 30,000 Chechens who live in the country as exiles. (Roundup)